12th April 2022

MANIFF 2022: Hostile

MANIFF 2022: This documentary feature foregrounds the testimonies of those who have been most affected by Britain’s hostile immigration policies
MANIFF 2022: Hostile

Written by Helen Stott.

At some point we have all probably heard or used the phrase ‘hostile environment policy’. It’s a phrase most likely used in tangent with criticism of Theresa May or the current government. However, those of us who are not directly impacted may lack the understanding of exactly how this policy effects the day to day lives of migrants and BAME people living in Britain. 

Sonita Gale’s emotionally devastating documentary Hostile aims to demystify the policy, explaining how it is not just the fault of a single individual or party, but rather the culmination of decades of racist legislation introduced by both Labour and Conservative governments. A systemic oppression which has its roots in British colonialism.

Ambitious in its scope, Gale’s documentary manages to perfectly balance the personal and the political, combining broader historical context with the deeply moving personal stories of those who have suffered and fought. Particularly upsetting was the story of Farooq, an engineer living in Manchester who’s decades long battle against a home office constantly trying to deport him takes its toll on his family, mental health and finances. 

After the screening we were lucky enough to be joined by both the director and Farooq for a Q&A. Both stressed the importance of grassroots community organising as the most effective means of change. Following the film’s cinematic release, Gale will embark on an impact tour, hoping to reach disenfranchised communities and people who may not initially be sympathetic, in order to change minds. She hopes the film will be the start of a broader political campaign and encouraged the audience to protest the ‘Police, Crime and Legislation bill’ which targets minorities and could threaten all our civil liberties.

I would definitely recommend this film if you would like to convince someone or educate yourself on the hostile environment policy. 


To get involved and find out more follow @hostiledoc on Instagram and Twitter.

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